In the woke of the #MeToo movement, organizations nowadays and their employees are now facing a threat they have always ignored. Workplace harassment has been a primary cause of employee turnover, low morale, insufficient productivity, and corporate lawsuits. It has always been there but never addressed. The biggest resource of any organization is its employees, and the biggest expense is their mistreatment.
With numerous cases of employees being harassed in the workplace coming forward every year, organizations are finding it hard to differentiate themselves from the bad seeds. However, the problems are not simple enough for the companies to just get rid of. Workplace harassment is conducted by both managers and the employees themselves. Since these issues are so sensitive in nature, they are not spoken about in the open. Victims tend to keep it to themselves until they leave the organization for good or file a lawsuit against it. Due to this, managers are always lost on the idea of how to prevent workplace harassment or take corrective action. So the question remains.
What to do about workplace harassment?
Have you been experiencing harassment at work? You might even be confused about where to draw the line between tough management and harassment. Employees often blame themselves to be presumptuous or paranoid. They give their superiors or colleagues the benefit of the doubt and convince themselves that it’s just a tough environment. But harassment in the workplace is very common.
How to report workplace harassment
- File the complaint in writing. Make sure you call it a ‘Formal Complaint’ regarding ‘racism/sexism/discrimination’. Doing that would eliminate the scope of your concern being disregarded.
- Demand for an anonymous complaint portal from your employers if you don’t already have one in your organization.
How to prove workplace harassment
- Gather as much proof against the ‘harasser’ as you can. Make sure you don’t leave anything out in your complaint to the human resources.
- Document all the inappropriate instances, including texts, phone calls, pictures, and any action you take against the perpetrator. In order to prove workplace harassment, you need every bit of evidence you can get.
- Remember, you must give sufficient time to the company to correct the situation before resorting to legal action. Even if workplace harassment is proved, the court considers whether or not the organization was given a chance to correct the mistake.
Workplace bullying and harassment can impact an employee’s psychological safety and the overall mental health and safety of the workplace. Unaddressed aggressiveness or unresolved workplace conflicts have the potential to intensify to a juncture in the workplace. Your role as a manager is to set up a healthy working environment in which harassment is unlikely to take place.
How to prevent workplace harassment
- Implement and support training and awareness sessions in your organization. Make it mandatory for your employees to go to such sessions and participate in them yourself. These sessions should explain very thoroughly how to report workplace harassment.
- Explain what constitutes acceptable behavior in the workplace. There should be a code of ethics posted in every lunchroom in your company describing the behavior that is expected from an employee of your company. Awareness among your employees will play a critical role in preventing workplace harassment.
- Employees often fear persecution for voicing their concerns. Implement YourSafeHub in your organization. It's a secure communication channel that protects such employees with the power of anonymity.
How to handle workplace harassment
- Communicate with your employees about their problems and any issues they might be facing.
- Encourage your employees to interact with each other and resolve problems with teamwork as they arise. Set up meetings and discuss these issues with all the parties involved. Use your experience to guide them on how to handle workplace harassment.
Take strict action against the perpetrators, regardless of their position in the organization. This will also set an example for the rest of your staff.